Monday 21 December 2015

Indian Talent - IT

Dr R A Mashelkar says to look for 3Ts -Talent, Technology & Tolerance

What are the three things on the basis of which we can carve out our future for us in the 21st century?  You will always find me quoting three things by the way. It's like Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram!  In my judgment, they are three Ts– Talent, Technology and Tolerance. Talent – this is in evidence here. What India is going to leverage is this talent -Indian talent. If you know you look at different countries, they grew because of different things at different points of time in their history. For example, the United States of America – it was roads and railways, Britain – it was textiles, Denmark – milk and milk products, Sweden – it was timber and timber products, Middle East – it was oil. And if you ask me what is the "oil" for India in the 21st century, I will say IT and when you would say Oh! IT means Information Technology. No, I am sorry, IT means "Indian Talent"- all of you. That's what is going to make the 21st century India's century.

Then, of course, Technology is absolutely transformational.  I am not just talking about what we did in space, defense, atomic energy, etc. but technology which can make a difference in the lives of the people, technology that is inclusive, technology that cares for the under privileged.

How do we smartly use that technology? Look at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), for example. On one hand, if you go to Hinjewadi in Pune, you will find there, very proudly, the fourth fastest super computer in the world.  It is developed by 80 young kids. I visited them recently.

This achievement has taken place at the top of the ladder. For the bottom of the ladder, that means for those millions of poor and illiterate Indians, TCS has developed computer based functional literacy (CBFL), which can make illiterate women read a newspaper within 6 to 8 weeks at a cost of just 100 rupees. Entire Medak district in Andhra Pradesh has become literate by this. More than one lac people have become literate in six different states – in six different languages.  It has been used in South Africa – with the same astonishing results.

If we all launch a National Mission by using computer based functional literacy, this entire country can become literate less than five years, not 20 years. And can you imagine what difference it will make to create that "enlightened democracy" that I was talking about. So, when I talked about the talent first and then technology, this technology is not for making those super computers, which can simulate nuclear explosions, or which can do the most complex fluid dynamic calculations.  But I am talking about a technology that makes a difference at the bottom of the pyramid- inclusive technology.

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